Obituary – Donna Jean Barstad

Donna Jean Barstad, 84, of Duarte was welcomed into heaven by Jesus Christ on the morning of Sunday, Jan. 5. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. with a reception following at La Cañada Presbyterian Church.
Donna Jean Bernet was born on July 26, 1935, to Oliver and Ella (Hankins) Bernet on the family farm near Sodtown, Nebraska, which was homesteaded by her grandfather. She attended a country school with her older sister Delores and younger brother Darrel. Donna graduated from Ravenna High School in 1953.
Donna was the first in her family to graduate from college. She pledged Delta Gamma at the University of Nebraska and graduated in 1958 with an education degree.
While teaching elementary school in Palo Alto, California, she met Jon Barstad, a graduate student at Stanford University. Donna was an attractive, fashionable bride on her wedding day at First Presbyterian Church of Grand Island, Nebraska, on July 1, 1961.
Donna, an adaptable and energetic mother, moved five times with Jon, while welcoming Jon Jr. in 1962 in Maryland and Amy in 1965 in Ohio. Donna quickly made friends and regularly returned to the family farm near Ravenna, Nebraska.
Donna was a sacrificially devoted and faithful wife, mother and grandmother. After settling in La Cañada Flintridge for 40 years, from 1976-2016, she continued to use her education gift as a substitute teacher, tutor and Descanso Gardens guide. Simo, their high school exchange student from Finland, was lovingly accepted as part of the family.
Donna enjoyed many activities with her family, including beach trips, walking, camping, skiing and traveling internationally. The family traveled through Europe in 1978. Donna and Jon also visited Jon Jr.’s family in Switzerland, Afghanistan, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia. Donna also toured Russia, Greece and Turkey. They regularly visited Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Cody, Wyoming, to visit her kids and grandkids.
Donna admitted she was powerless and turned her life over to God. She confessed her defects to God and made amends to people wherever possible. She carried this life-giving message to others.
She was a faithful member of the LCPC Voyager couples group since 1976, in addition to Assistance League of Flintridge, Delta Gamma alumnae and PEO associations.
There was always a seat at Donna’s table. She was a wonderful hostess, and her home was always open to her family, friends, students and church groups.
Donna was quick to smile, a classy dresser and welcoming host with a beautiful soul and kind heart. Her love for her life and her family were inspiring.
Donna will be missed by her husband, Jon D. Barstad, of almost 59 years; son Jon and Gabriela, grandsons Lars (20) and Johan (18) Barstad of Colorado Springs; daughter Amy and Mark, grandsons William (14) and Wesley (10) Law of Cody, Wyoming; younger brother Darrel and Linda, niece Kim Mustain and nephew Brad Bernet of Overland Park, Kansas.
In lieu of flowers, Donna would be pleased if you donated to La Cañada Presbyterian Voyager Cargo Fund, 626 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge, California 91011, or to PEO Foundation, 3700 Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50312.

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